What do you do when your brand products are so successful that just about everyone owns at least one from its range?


 It’s not easy.  Any strategy must not only demonstrate your products are chic, but, most importantly, you possess an intimate level of understanding that luxury market customers flying First as well as Business Class will appreciate and embrace.

 In no particular order, the branding implements for the job include:

 ·      A suitably groomed ‘face’ for the brand.

·      A retail line-up led by someone with experience of turning around the image of a luxury brand.
·      A convincing design team equally, admired by Gold cardholders on Rodeo Drive, as well as MasterCard swipers at the mall.
·      A range whose top tier price is beyond the reach of most, but includes a middle-tier range to appease the majority. 
·      A strong retail online and high street retail presence.

 Elegance in the shape of Apple’s design chief, the charismatic 48-year-old Sir Jonathan Ive.  (The ‘Sir’) strengthens the image for essential US and Asia markets. Ensure your brand ‘face’ is adored by the inner circles by implementing a crafted PR strategy to the style-sector press such as New Yorker and US Vogue – all briefed to feature fashion profiles of your handsome design guru. 

 Next, make the CEO of a luxury brand that lost its way – but got it back on track, an offer she can’t refuse.   Enter Angela Ahrendts CE) from Burberry who joined Apple in 2014.   Then, for good measure, appoint former Yves Saint Laurent chief, Paul Deneve as president of special projects.

 To appeal to a broader demographic yearning to be ‘street cool’, hire Nike’s former head of social media, Musa Tariq, as digital marketing director.  (Usefully, he can double up as a brand advocate espousing Apple Watch’s important role in the hip Internet of Things).

 As a great ‘straight man to Ives, get Marc Newson CBE, an industrial designer who specialises in producing a suitably esoteric design style known as ‘biomorphism’.  (In fact, by getting Newson, you also obtain access to his wife, Charlotte Stockdale’s, network. She is the ‘darling’ of the fashion industry, who also just happens to be Fendi and Victoria’s Secret stylist). 


 For good measure, throw a red-carpet dinner in Paris hosted by Azzedine Alaïa, the couturier who dresses divas and luminaries including Madonna, Carla Bruni and Michelle Obama. Then, to display mutual admiration and respect, invite the 1%’s favourite luxury labels to submit their own design variations for the Apple Watch, with patterns that sweetly match their own range of boutique shoes and other accoutrements.

 Just to underscore the high fashion connection employ the services of Gainsbury & Whiting, the people behind an immensely successful Alexander McQueen show, to choreograph the watch launch staging in California. 

From the sales targeting angle, a crucial part of the Apple’s luxury strategy is to appeal to the one market most obsessed with Western luxury: China. By 2025 it is likely to account for just over half of global luxury goods sales. (Apple’s astonishing $18bn profit on $75bn of revenue reported in January, helped account for a 70% increase in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan). In fact, Apple is now the most successful smartphone maker in China.

 Finally get the accountants together with the marketing interns to develop a range of price points to match the various tiers of bling on straps and bevels.  Offer consumers a sense of individuality, with six band designs: two face sizes, eleven face designs, six metal choices–including two types of gold, 18-carat yellow and 18-carat rose, and one model supposedly costing over $10,000.  (Nice PR attention grabber).

 Put it all together and you have (in brand-theory) the perfect luxury brand launch.  (Although batteries are still not included – but Apple cables are said to be optional).


Jonathan Gabay

Author Brand Psychology